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Boxer Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books


Start your Boxer off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Boxer Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Boxer puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Boxer lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Boxer are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Boxer will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Boxer puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Boxer be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Boxer? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Boxer dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]


Complete list of Boxer health problems

Because of their short face, all Boxers suffer from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of health problems, especially respiratory, digestive, and eye ailments.

Heart problems are very high on the list of major health problems in Boxers, especially subaortic stenosis and a specific form of cardiomyopathy called familial ventricular arrythmia. Pulmonic stenosis and septal defects (holes in the heart) are other heart problems occurring in Boxers.

Tumors and cancers are a serious concern in Boxers, including lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors, histiocytoma, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and others.

Eye diseases occur regularly in Boxers:

  • The most common eye problem is corneal ulcer, and in Boxers these ulcers can be very persistent and refuse to heal.
  • Cataracts can occur in Boxers under age 4 and can progress to blindness.
  • Other eye diseases in the breed include corneal dystrophy, cherry eye, eyelid abnormalities (entropion and ectropion), eyelash abnormalities, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Boxers often have health issues related to their digestive system – they are prone to being "gassy" (especially when fed kibble or canned diets). Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) is very common in Boxers. And they're at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

The most common orthopedic health problem in Boxers is hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 6000 Boxers and found almost 12% dysplastic. In comparison, Doberman Pinschers have a 6% hip dysplasia rate. On a positive note, of 800 elbow X-rays, Boxers had only a 1% rate of elbow dysplasia. Other orthopedic health problems in Boxers include intervertebral disk disease, Wobbler's syndrome, osteochondritis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 23% of Boxers have low thyroid levels. The OFA Thyroid Database says that up to 30% are affected.

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma), demodectic mange (in Boxer puppies), follicular dysplasia, and non-tumorous growths.

On some older Boxers, you might see what looks like a growth on their gums, covering some of their teeth. This is actually fibrous gum tissue and the condition is called gingival hyperplasia. If the enlarged gums interfere with chewing or become damaged from chewing, the excess tissue may need to be surgically removed.

Blood-clotting diseases include von Willebrand's, hemophilia A, and factor II deficiency.

Other health problems in Boxers are degenerative myelopathy, Cushing's disease, epilepsy, pyloric stenosis, cystinuria, kidney disease, polyneuropathy, craniomandibular osteopathy, and in some white Boxer puppies, inherited deafness.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

FREE eBOOK! My free online health care program, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Boxer in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.